There are five ways to learn about assembling your car camping rig: deep personal reflection, inspiration, trial and error, field observation, and direct mail marketing. You never know what’s going to work, so I suggest pursuing all five paths, in addition to the sixth way to car camping enlightenment that we have not yet discovered. We haven’t been at this game all that long with our late start, and there’s still some fine-tuning to be done. Right off the bat I acquired the two-burner Coleman stove recalled from my youth. Like all things hauled out of the past into the present day, it was a massive disappointment. It only had one temperature setting (thermonuclear) and was entirely too loud when you just wanted to heat water for coffee at the break of day. It’s in the garage now, replaced by a quick lighting, fast heating, and quiet backpacking stove, the MSR Whisperlite. Just going by the name, you know it’s going to be better than the Coleman. If there are any Coleman fans out there who want to set me straight on its strong points, please see the comments section below.
On our most recent trip, I tried out a collapsible 5-gallon water container, as we were staying in a camp with no drinking water provided. Sounded great: very compact, holds a lot of water, and had the legendary Coleman name. (Will I ever learn?) The thing is, “collapsible” and holding 5 gallons of water are not compatible concepts. A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. How does a collapsible plastic container hold up when filled with 40 pounds of water? You can go out to my garage and check that out for yourself. It was like trying to carry a fidgety Tree Sloth.
Since Inspiration didn’t work, I moved on to Field Observation. I saw two neighboring campers with 5-gallon Igloo water coolers. This looks like a much more sensible solution. It’s not going to collapse, it should be easy to clean and dry out post-adventuring, and it has the legendary Igloo brand.
We still have some learnin’ to do, but I have to say right here that our Resident Expert has got some game. Here she is, attending to the quinoa and smoked salmon, probably our best camping dinner to date. Just crazy enough to work.